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Home >> China City Guide >> Beijing >> Beijing Opera - Peking travel guide and tour

Beijing Opera

Beijing Opera
Peking Opera

Beijing Opera, once called "Peking Opera", is deemed the national opera of China. The accompanying music, singing and costumes are full of Chinese cultural facts. During the reign of Emperor Qianglong in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), a local opera troupe from Anhui Province came to Beijing and brought its "Hui Tune" (which originated in Anhui Province and was called "Pihuang" opera) to the capital. It soon became prealent. In the course of evolution, it partly drew and adopted repertoire, tune and manner of performance from Kun opera (a local opera from Jiangsu area) and Qin Opera (a local opera from Shaanxi Province) as well as folk tunes, gradually developing into what we now call Beijing Opera Placing emphasis on dancing as well as on singing, it adopted the skills of Chinese martial arts and created its own uniquely stylized, ficitious and strongly rhythmical movements.Singing and reciting show elaborate articulation and phrasing. Systemized in its four categories of singing, acting, reciting and arobatic fighting, Beijing Opera has exerted a strong influence on other local opera.

Roles in Beijing Opera are divided into the four Ha ngdangs (categories) of Sheng, Dan, Jing and Chou representing male, female, old young, beatiful, honest and dishonest. Beijing Opera mainly presents historical stories Out of its more than 1300 plays,about 400 are often on show.

The orchestra in Beijing Opera consists of wind and string instruments as well as percussion instruments. Jinghu, a small two-stringed bowed instrument, play a main part.I n the more than one hundred years that have passed many famous singing actors, drum masters and Jinghu masters contributed a lot to the development of Beijing Opera.

After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Beijing Opera
troupes have performed aborad many times. They caused a sensation in the world and were warmly welcomed by the audiences.

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